Alexander Popov

Writer in Residence
Period of Stay: 
January 2020 - May 2020
Project Title: 
Ancient Bulgarians Census
Project Abstract: 

My book Ancient Bulgarians Census is a political satire with elements of romantic comedy. Crisis, corruption and the deficiency of democracy exacerbate the social sensitivity of people, and they tend to identify themselves with works that explore reality from a critical angle. Regardless of its comical and satirical nature, the novel will focus on thematic issues which bring huge worries in our societies: demographic crisis, migration, and last but not least, the question of the roots - where do we come from and who are our ancient ancestors? These "existential anxieties" of today's Bulgarians often find expression in absurd pseudo-scientific theories pouring water into the mill of cheap populism. As far as now this thematic niche has not yet been explored by Bulgarian literature and since it is not only a native phenomenon, but a trend observed in different parts of Europe, it deserves closer attention. It has been my specialty for long time to collect “roaming stories” typical to the small nations aspiring to "greatness". I think the situation in Hungary is very similar to that in Bulgaria especially regarding the theme I am going to explore. The “quest for roots” has a long history here and its absurd dimensions are pretty well visible. I am confident that working in Budapest for a certain period will enrich my knowledge on the topic in deep and will give me a broader picture to the problem from a Central European perspective. The story I am about to tell deals with the abuses of national mythology for political ends; it is transnational by nature as far as the obsession with identity is now present all over the EU. Therefore, this new angle from Budapest will help me to break away from the strictly local context. My intent is to include Hungarian characters in the course of my research and development thus making the story internationally relevant and comprehensible.